Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Miata updates.

Well it's been a long time since I've paid any attention to my beloved 1994 Miata, but last week marked 11 years since I bought the darn thing. In honor of that occasion I've undertaken some refurbishing of the old girl. First, the rear brakes were working, but not very well. The right side had a siezed slider pin and the left side had a sticking parking brake mechanism. So I ordered up a pair of rear calipers from Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development. I put the car up on stands for a couple weekends for easier access while I took care of the brakes and also a bunch of little details that have been needing done for, like, YEARS.

  • The airbag computer was fritzing out for some reason, beeping at me every 30 minutes after startup and generally just being an annoyance. The driver side airbag has been gone since 1999, so I went ahead and disconnected the computer and ripped out the front airbag sensor, just to clean up the wiring a bit.
  • Back in '97 I had installed a cold air induction and it involved splicing an extension into the wiring for the Mass Air Sensor. The kit is long gone so I finally removed the extension and soldered the wires back at their original length. As the connections were just crimp connectors I think they had been a bit flaky at times over the years.
  • A switch on the clutch pedal had begun clicking loudly every time I depressed the pedal. Fixed that.
  • Removed the silver vinyl stripes. Now I have to figure out how to get rid of the "shadow" of where the stripes used to be. I think I'm going to buy one of those really good random orbit polishers and do it up right. The paint still looks pretty good from 10 feet away. Properly polished and waxed it might pass at 5 feet as well. I figure that's good enough for a 15 year old car.
  • Discovered the source of a mysterious coolant leak that I was thinking was the water pump. I found one of the lower radiator hoses leaking around its fitting on the hard pipe due to corrosion of the pipe. I cleaned that up and flushed out the cooling system and refilled with fresh coolant. Will have to watch it going forward.
  • The FIAMM air horns had degraded over time from a trumpet blast to a pathetic "frrrrrrrrrrrt". I pulled the compressor out and filed the corrosion off the wiring connector, and ran WD-40 through it and the horns. Much better now.
  • The TEIN coilovers had sagged a bit since I installed them 4 years ago, so I cranked each corner up 2 turns on the adjusters. Not a huge difference but the car rides better so I think it may have been sitting right on the bumpstops.
  • Changed the differential fluid to AMSOIL 80W-90 gear oil.

There's still a lot that needs to be done. There's an oil leak at the rear of the engine. It's coming out the shift fork boot so I think it's the rear main seal. Gotta drop the tranny and remove the clutch to get to that, so it's a major job. I don't want to let it ride for another year, though. When I do that I'll probably swap the flywheel for a lighter one, as long as I'm in there. Next, I need new tires. I recently traded my 16" Rage wheels for a set of 15" Rota Circuit 8's but the Kumho MX tires on them are completely bald. I might get another set of wheels and keep these for the track since I plan to do some track days next year. Next, my buddy Steve is going to sell me a Hard Dog rollbar that he is not using so I can replace the one I removed and sold back in '04. Then I'll be ready for the track again, pretty much. Finally, I'm planning to reupholster the seats in some sort of leatherette/vinyl/ leather-like material. Full leather is too expensive. I've found some decent vinyl that looks and feels very much like leather. It needs new door panels, too.

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